Wednesday, July 23, 2008

For The Love Of The Chain

A friend challenged me to give a restaurant review and here I go:

I was enroute to Academy Sporting Goods via Midtown Mobile, when I spotted the sign for Romano's Macaroni Grill. If ever I could choose a cultural background to call my own or name my weak spot it would definitely be Italian.

I pull into the parking lot, adjust my clothing accordingly and walk in. I am greeted by an overly enthusiastic hostess. With only one in my party I ask to be seated near the bar - spectating is always best there.

My wait person who is also the bartender hands me a menu and the race is off. I eagerly search the menu for the famous dish called Carmela's Chicken Rigatoni. My wait-tender retuns with a perfectly square loaf of fresh bread , is their house apertivo. Golden baked, firm to the touch and crispy on the outside. Accompanying the bread - olive oil with fresh cracked black pepper. I order a Leaning Bellini cocktail and Carmela's dish. A peach colored drink in a very tall daiquiri glass is set before me. It is a concoction of peach nectar liquer, rum, white wine and bubbly champagne - crisp and refreshing (I think I'll have another). Ahhhh, then comes the piece de resistance - Carmela's Chicken Rigatoni. My wait-tender offers freshly grated parmesean cheese for my entree. I accept. I've never met a cheese I didn't like. The round noodles are just al dente and covered with grilled chicken, carmelized onions (that are just a bit of heaven), sauteed mushrooms and a creamy marsala wine sauce. Chicken is tender and has flavors of garlic and oregano. The onions sweet and softened, the mushrooms meaty and the wine sauce is heavy. Savoring every morsel I tell myself to stop eating so the dish will last a bit longer. Just over $11 for the entree, it is worth every penny. Now finished and embarassed from the licking the bowl clean...under the Mobile sun I think - wherever and whoever you are Carmela, I love you

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